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The new boardroom agenda

Making great investment decisions: Karen Hester, Adnams

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 06 Oct 2022

The first of four films showcasing board members’ stories and how they ensure a long-term focus for their companies.

Karen Hester is the Chief Operating Officer and an executive board member at Adnams plc, a UK-based brewer. She didn’t leave her native county of Suffolk until she was 16 and went to join the army. In this film, she explains how the only job she ever applied for at Adnams was as a cleaner in 1988, and how she has worked her way up to her present role.

She also takes us through a big long-term investment decision she took at Adnams to build an environmentally-friendly storage facility requiring much lower energy costs. This required a significant upfront investment but Adnams’ long-term approach to decision making meant that the investment was signed off. It has proved incredibly successful – especially in the midst of today’s energy crisis – and has produced returns many times over the initial investment. 

Finally, Hester talks about the lessons she has learnt about being a successful board member and business woman.